Featuring the cuddly and bug-eyed Rodney Dangerfield, sassy Jackée, and 90’s tween heart throb Jonathan Brandis, LADYBUGS, is a screw-ball romantic comedy, full of corny fun.
Despite his low-self-confidence, Chester (Dangerfield) is bound and determined to get a promotion at his sales job so he can marry his dream girl, care for her and her teenage son. In his over eager attempt to kiss up to the boss, he winds up head coach of the company sponsored girls soccer team, the Ladybugs. The deal: have a winning season, get the promotion. Not knowing a thing about soccer, he recruits his future step-son, Mathew (Brandis), to don a wig, wear a dress and play for the losing team. From the silliness of seeing Brandis and Dangerfield wear dresses, mistaken identity, and the reveal at the end, LADYBUGS follows the cheesy movie template perfectly.
Dangerfield’s lines throughout the film feel like bits pulled from his standup routine applied to everyday life. Watching him schmooze the boss, he plays the desperate schmuck perfectly, the everyman who is in over his head. My favorite scenes are not where he is doing ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ but where he’s sincere and gentle, in particular when you see how in love he is with future wife, Bess (Ilene Graff, you recognize her from her time as the mom from ‘Mr. Belvedere’) and how much he cares about his team of girls. I love it when he gives a pep talk to wallflower Penny Pester. It took me back to the days where I had frizzy hair, wore teal rimmed glasses and had a mouth full of braces. Where was Chester when I was that age?! Ahem. I digress… those scenes, however cheesy they might be, I cannot get enough of them.
Brandis does an adequate job playing the surly love sick teen over the wealthy, popular, out of his league, Kimberly. When he throws temper tantrums it feels over acted but as the bossy ‘girl’ on the soccer field he cracks me up. Calling the girls “sweetheart” in a biting tone, that’s just funny.
I realized that some of the jokes went over my head when I first saw the film during its silver screen debut and I was blushing bright red when I watched this Blu-ray version. To be exact, the dressing room scene had me hiding my face behind my couch cushion. I almost had the same reaction to that scene as the poor lady who passes out when Chester and Martha/Mathew emerge out of the room.
Though this is no Academy Award winning picture, the score, wacky premise and ridiculous jokes make you smile and stick with you long after you’ve watched the film.
Video: The video quality was nice. All the bright ridiculous colors from the early 90’s were sharp.
Audio: Nothing like hearing Rodney Dangerfield and Jackée sing “Great Balls of Fire” on this Blu-Ray. You’ll want to be sure you have surround sound.